Just a little conundrum on the council tax front – over to you Mr Controller?

What exactly is the true percentage increase we are all paying in council tax this year?

 

 

A little missive we have received from one of our followers – 

Dear Waverley Web,

I received my 2018/19 Council Tax Bill in the post today.

My bill indicated a total increase of 5.5% over last year, which didn’t make much sense because the various sub-components had only gone up by 3.0% to 5.3%, so how could the total be 5.5% higher?

So I got my calculator out along with last year’s bill and started checking it.

  • The first mistake was the Surrey County Council bit (excluding Adult social care), which I was told had gone up 3.0% from last year to £2181.50 this year (I’m band G in Farnham). Last year I paid SCC £2115.19, so the actual increase works out at 3.1% However, this error didn’t explain why my total bill was up 5.5%.
  • Second error – Surrey Adult Social Care, which I was told had also gone up 3.0%, last year I paid £104.06, this year I’ve been billed £170.65. This works out as an annual increase of 64%, not 3.0%!

Currently, I’m unsure as to whether the percentage increases are correct and the amount(s) wrong, or whether the amount(s) are correct in which case the percentage increases are wrong. I will contact Waverley’s Council Tax Team next week, to seek clarification on my personal bill (ie as to whether my Adult social care bill should be £170.65 or 103% or £104.06 ie £107.18), but I do wonder if there is a wider issue here?

Am I alone in receiving a Council Tax Demand that contains errors, or have other (even all) residents of Waverley received Council Tax Bills containing similar errors?

If the error in my bill has been repeated across Waverley – then Waverley may have to reissue all of its council tax bills!  However, they may need to go further and explain why they are misleading their residents over the real magnitude of this year’s increases! 64% is a huge increase, especially in these times of low wage rises. Maybe a 64% increase is justified (even I’m aware of the funding pressures on adult social care), if so then Waverley/Surrey should be honest about the real increase and provide the justification for that increase to its residents, rather than pretending that the increase is only 3.0%

Over to you (whoever you are)!
Mark

Thank you, Mark, for contacting the Waverley Web. We would like to ask Waverley Borough and Surrey County Councils to explain the rationale behind the questions that you pose, however, this is impossible as the Waverley Web is blocked from entering the council’s computer system! Can’t think why! However, we will forward your letter to a couple of councillors in the hope that we may get a sensible explanation.
It is widely known said that Waverley is not good at presenting anything numerical, as no one there can count! it mainly relies upon unidentified ‘experts’ and hopeful assumptions, irrespective of common sense or the law. It appears that they are long past the point of caring what people think.

More to follow.

Kind Regards, The team at Waverley Web.

Just in case you try to access the police website – s is what you get: You couldn’t make it up!tScreen Shot 2018-03-12 at 18.54.37.png

5 thoughts on “Just a little conundrum on the council tax front – over to you Mr Controller?

  1. Mark you are quite correct. Ours is the same!
    Surrey CC is 3.1%
    Adult Care is 64%
    WBC is 3.0%
    Police is 5.3%
    Parish is 2.0%
    TOTAL 5.5%
    Our Contribution last year for Adult Social Care was £90.19 and this year £147.90. I, like you, don’t begrudge paying a bit more for that, but a 5.3% hike for Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, seems a tad high when last years increase was only 2% We don’t seem to see much of them here in Alfold. In fact only last week there was a post on our local Facebook site where two men in a White Van attempted to steal items from someones front drive. They were caught on the persons Phone and CCTV. It was later posted that they “were known to the Police” This is not an uncommon occurance here and many of us have installed CCTV. It just seems a bit rich to ask for such an increase and then state that the numbers are dropping.

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  2. I am not surprised. Tried to look on their website and just keep getting errors – Can’t paste them but basically says THIS SITE IS NOT SECURE!!! You have to laugh!

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  3. I haven’t seen my Council Tax bill yet (I could swear some years it doesn’t arrive but they never lose the Direct Debit mandate….) however, I have done some sums based on the figures given by Mark. I guess you probably know this but there is no harm in spelling it out, the 3% increase for adult social care is not 3% of the sum allocated to adult social care but 3% of the total SCC bill. Mark’s total bill has gone up by 5.5% because the largest element of it, the payment to Surrey County Council, has gone up by 5.98%. My assumptions are these – that in 2017/18 Mark paid a total of £2,219.25 to Surrey County Council (that’s £2115.19 plus £104.06) and that this year he will pay £2,352.15 (£2,181.50 plus £170.65) the increase from one year to the other is 5.98%, give or take a few pence that is 6% – 3% increase for general expenditure at SCC and 3% increase for adult social care. Broadly I feel the figures are all correct it just sounds as though they have been presented in a way guaranteed to obfuscate. Historically the format of a Council Tax bill is prescribed by regulation to stop Councils obfuscating but I have lost track of the rules on how to present the adult social care thing (it’s possible there are no rules) and even the Government will wish to obfuscate here rather than drawing attention to huge tax increases against a diminishing service. In Godalming the fact that we are now paying twice – we’re not paying any less to Waverley now that they don’t deliver public toilets or the Museum but we are paying more to the Town Council.

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  4. I agree with the maths above, and have the same problem in Epsom and Ewell. This year, Surrey County Council were allowed to pass on a 6% increase without having to go to a referendum…not sure if you remember the situation last year where they suggested a 15% increase and were gearing up for a referendum until they realised they’d lose, so backtracked…well here we are at the start of April and they have gone for the full percentage increase. And then in order to deliberately confuse and hide the truth, they have misrepresented the percentages to make them appear less! Unfortunately, the sad reality is this underhanded tactic by SCC will work as not enough people will follow these posts.

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